Using Hobbies To Make Money And To Uncover Strengths Outside Of The Office
Your personal hobbies — those things you do outside of work for fun and creative expression — are most likely a mirror of your talent themes. That's why discovering your top strengths through StrengthsFinder often leads to that aha moment where it becomes crystal clear why you do those things you are so passionate about. Many even get to maximize and thrive with their natural talents by using hobbies to make money, and you could be one of them.
Often you're good at what you like, and you like what you're naturally good at. Sara Regan talks to our host Lisa Cummings in this fun conversation, where Sara shares what arts or passion she’s most drawn into, as well as her reflection on the link between those hobbies and her talent themes.
What's cool is that using your hobbies to make money doesn't have to mean that you do something drastic. Often, people think that they should quit their current job and go chase their passion. But then they don't know what the passion is, so they live in this state of dis-ease. Or, they know their passion, but it's not going to earn much cash. For example, Lisa was obsessed with beach volleyball. She loved it. She'd be over the moon to get paid to do it. However, she's short, and doesn't have the best vertical jump in the world. So if she spent decades using hobbies to make money - in this case, she would have made none.
Lisa tells on herself with this example because so many people are all-or-none on this topic. In fact, your hobbies don't have to directly earn you a living. You're still using hobbies to make money if you learn from them and re-apply themes from them. For example, Lisa loves to be active, so being a corporate trainer is great because she can stand and deliver while moving around a lot. She also loves to pump people up. She could have done this as a volleyball coach, and she can also do it when she inspires people to see their greatness in corporate life.
See, the beauty in all of this is that there isn't one answer. It's rarely about one single passion. It's about watching your energy, and using your "energy makers" in any role. That's emotionally freeing. Imagine the difference in "I can use this in *any* role" (yay), versus "I am eternally hunting for *the* role" (disappointing).
Here’s the transcript of the show.
Your Hobbies Feed Your Strengths
Lisa: Hello, hello everyone! I'm Lisa Cummings from Lead Through Strengths. So excited today to be joined by Sara Regan, one of our facilitators from Lead Through Strengths. And I'm psyched to bring you some new fresh thinking and tips on applying your strengths at work. It's an interesting outcome you can get from strengths — it’s remembering the things that are really fun to you and how they are clues to your talent.
When you're remembering what's fun to you, and where you lose track of time, you might be simultaneously figuring out how using your hobbies to make money is possible in your existing job.
So Sara, will you, by way of being the model example, will you tell us about some of the things that you personally do for fun, a hobby or two...those kinds of things? And how, when you look back on them, you think, “No wonder I got involved in that thing, because it totally lines up with my strengths.”
Sara: Oh, that's a great question, and it's a question everybody should reflect on themselves. That’s great. One of my hobbies, one of the things that I've always been drawn to is music. So I enjoy music. I play piano at home. I play pretty often.
And what I have found that I need and I'm drawn to even more so is singing and singing with a choir. So, the idea of going to karaoke or going to sing in a wedding, you know, I've done those things, but I actually don't enjoy those. They give me panic. I can talk to 500 people but I don't really want to go to karaoke.
[Side note from the editors: isn't it interesting to see Sara's Relator (her #2) and Connectedness (her #4) talents at work. She likes to sing, but she doesn't want to be center stage as the front person. She wants to be embedded in the whole thing, and a choir is perfect for seeing and hearing the individual parts - and how they make the whole when they come together. If you contrast that with Lisa's Woo (her #5), it's no wonder that she's the lead singer in her rock band. It's all about preferences, and these preferences show up whether you're in your play time or work time. Although neither of them are using hobbies to make money as a career, they're both able to see these connections about how they naturally think and act - whether in a hobby or in the main career zone.]
But what I do want to do is I want to sing where I'm part of a larger group, and be part of the whole. I think it goes back to what I was talking about with mosaic tile. It's like many things coming together and being a part of that, but there are some things that can happen when you step back and look at something in its entirety.
And so one of the things that I do regularly is that I sing in a choral group, and we do about four concerts a year. We do like hardcore heavy-duty choral music — Bach B Minor Mass, Handel’s Messiah, Verdi Requiem... So things that I didn't have much experience, even though I have a music background. But I love the challenge of learning really hard music. I think it feeds my Learner theme. And I’m not thinking about other things when I am up there.
And Connectedness. I think that's part of what also gets fed there, it’s being part of something larger than myself. So that's been one of the things that I have still been able to keep as a hobby, even though life has gotten complicated and busy lately.
Lisa: Yeah. It makes total sense. I could see the Connectedness, how you're part of it. You know that you're contributing to it but you're not trying to pop out in the dazzly, “upstage someone else” kind of way. And when you said hardcore and being in a rock band I'm like, “Yeah, she's hardcore metal," and then, “No, we're talking Bach here.” Yes, it’s a whole different thing!
Sara: There will be stops, like flicks their lighter when we’re singing.
Lisa: Well, if you listen to Rival Sons, one of my favorite rock bands, you'll have gospel choir mixed with lighters, so it can happen.
Sara: Yes. We appreciate all kinds of music. I love to listen to most...all kinds of genre — blues and jazz. But as a singer, maybe it's partly because of… I don’t know, I don’t have a rock band that I can be a part of. But the group that I'm a part of is about 80 people and it's often 8-part harmony, so it's something about the harmony. That really is, what I'm…. what I want to be part of, knowing that there's so many things happening at the same time. But...
Level Up With Insight From Your Hobbies
Lisa: It makes so much sense when you look at your talent themes. I mean, Strategic and Connectedness really pop out for me about how the pieces would fit together, but 8-part harmony is so complex in how you can get your head around it in a way that simplifies it to you but also having the presence and awareness of the others simultaneously. A cool hobby for that. Oh, and for people who are listening, your Carnegie Hall hasn't happened yet. It’s coming up, right?
Sara: That's true. So this is a total bucket list kind of opportunity where our group is going to be traveling to Carnegie Hall in the fall to perform Verdi Requiem, a very powerful piece, and it would be hard not to be blown away and feel that experience of music. So I’m all signed up and ready to go.
Lisa: That is so amazing. So depending on when people are watching this or listening to it, we'll make sure that we put it in a blog post format so that if someone wants to search it and see that after the fact, maybe if you get a little video footage, we can upload that and people could come back. Or if they're listening after you've already been, they will see it right now inside of that.
Sara: Yeah, fun!
Lisa: So cool! I like how you're modeling that you're using hobbies to make money. Even though you're not using Carnegie Hall to directly make money, you're showing how all of your top talent themes are embedded in your everyday thinking and doing. They're "written all over you." I think this will help a lot of people because it's easier to think of what you enjoy rather than to declare what your superpower is. Please let us know when we can see the video of your Carnegie Hall moment.
Sara: I'll make sure. I don't remember the date off the top of my head but I will certainly.
Lisa: So many useful ideas and examples about how to apply your strengths. Now if this made you say, “Oh my gosh, I totally need Sara at my event to kick-off strengths with my team” — if you're thinking about doing it, you want to request Sara, when you come to our contact page, be sure to request Sara for your event.
Using Hobbies To Make Money - Want More Ideas For Translating Them To Your Current Role?
Lisa previously interviewed the multi-talented Melissa Dinwiddie on how to spark creativity. Get a dose of useful insights and inspiration on how she discovered, understands and nurtures her strengths through playing the ukelele, dancing salsa and the Argentine tango, doing improv classes, calligraphy and a host of other hobbies, and actually earning money from many of those. Be sure to check out her Creative Sandbox Way™ podcast for creative triggers.
You could be feeding your Learner theme when you uncover your hobbies and interests through your strengths. And when you tap on Focus to fully develop these hobbies and share your creations with others, you'll find yourself enjoying your life through the exciting opportunities and experiences that come your way.
Carmie is a professional writer and editor at Lead Through Strengths. Having spent 8 happy years with a nonprofit child organization as a storyteller and sponsorship relations team manager, she continues collaborating with others across the globe for the joy of human development and connection. Her days are powered by coffee, curiosities, cameras (film and digital), music, notebooks, and a cat. Where books are home, she’s home. She calls her Top 5 StrengthsFinder Talents “CLIPS” (Connectedness, Learner, Intellection, Positivity, and Strategic)–you know, those tiny objects that hold connected things together. She’d like to think she’s one.